Contexts

sociology for the public

Books

Sociological takes on recent news and research.

Saving Our Kids

A closer examination of Putnam’s book reveals that, rather than being “grist” for social conservatives, it is actually a wake-up call for the entire nation—including liberals and a suite of policy prescriptions they support. Read More

Contested Memories

In this review of two books, Caroline Kieu-Linh Valverede's, Transnationalizing Vietnam: Community, Culture, and Politics in the Diaspora and Cathy J. Schlund-Vials' War, Genocide and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work, sociologist Kimberly Goyette discusses how memory may be shaped and contested for two Southeast Asian immigrant groups, Vietnamese Americans and Cambodian Americans. She also considers how memory is important for identity, and ultimately, assimilation in the United States. Read More

Opening Access

Former publisher Alex Holzman weighs the pros and cons of open access via a review of Peter Suber's Open Access. Read More

Eating, Then and Now

Sociologist Tracy E. Ore explores how transformations in American social practices of work and life changed and were changed by what and how people ate at the turn of the century, and how these trends continue today. She reviews Buying into Fair Trade and Repast. Read More

Weighing the Evidence

Sociologist Michael Bader reviews two books, Fat Chance and What's Wrong with Fat?, that hope to reshape the debate about obesity in America. Read More

Political Theater

Urban sociologist, Virág Molnár, reviews the books No Billionaire Left Behind and Thank You, Anarchy. The books examine satirical activism and Occupy Wall Street's mix of direct democracy and anarchism as examples of unconventional political protest in the contemporary United States. Read More

Writing The City

Anthropologist John Hartigan considers the tricks and travails of writing about cities, via a review of Detroit: An American Autopsy and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. Read More

The Poverty of Policy

Family scientist Kevin Roy reviews the books So Rich, So Poor and Ain't No Trust. The books examine the consequences of welfare reform policy for low-income families and the next steps in dealing with rising social inequality. Read More

Precarious Work

Sociologist Gretchen Purser reviews the books The Temp Economy, Intern Nation and The Precariat. These books explore recent transformations in the labor market and the increasingly precarious nature of work. Read More

Slot Machine Capitalism

What is seductive about casino gambling? Sociologist Jacob Avery reviews the books Addiction by Design and Gambling for Profit in a desperate attempt to win some answers. Read More